April 21, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court: Aggravated Range Sentence Supported by Mandatory Sentencing Statute

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Hunsaker, Jr. v. People on Monday, June 15, 2015.

Mandatory Sentencing—Crim.P. 35(a) and (b)—Prosecutorial Appeal—Colorado Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act.

Defendant appealed his sentence on his conviction for sexual assault on a child–pattern of abuse, a class 3 felony. The Supreme Court held that (1) when a conviction is for a sex offense that requires sentencing in accordance with the mandatory sentencing statute, the prosecution is not required to prove aggravating circumstances to support a bottom-end sentence in the aggravated range; (2) the prosecution here is authorized to appeal the post-conviction court’s ruling on the defendant’s Crim.P. 35(a) motion because it challenges the legal basis for the range the post-conviction court used to impose the sentence; (3) under Crim.P. 35(a), the illegality of a sentence on one count does not entitle a defendant to resentencing on other counts with legal sentences; and (4) if a sentence is subject to correction on one count, Crim.P. 35(b) authorizes a resentencing court to reconsider and reduce the legal sentences as to all counts after it has corrected the entire sentence. The Court therefore affirmed the court of appeals’ judgment reversing and remanding the case to the post-conviction court to reinstate defendant’s sentence of sixteen years to life on his conviction for sexual assault on a child–pattern of abuse. The Court held that, on remand to the post-conviction court, defendant may seek reconsideration of his sentence under Crim.P. 35(b).

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

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